Sunday, December 2, 2007

Self-Education and How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

My current attempt at self-education is reading a book by Paul Stamets entitled Mycelium Running-How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Paul is founder of Fungi Perfecti and has been a mycologist for over thirty years. "How can mushrooms save the planet?", you ask.

To quote from the flyleaf -- "The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called 'mycelium' - the fruit of which are mushrooms - recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium's digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycogardening)."

And you thought mushrooms were only good in spaghetti sauce! Who knew?!

The book is fascinating, although very technical. Paul is, after all, a botanist, and uses the technical jargon of that discipline. It is full of photographs and diagrams which help to illustrate the principles involved, which makes this book appealing to the layman.

For anyone looking for a way to help the planet, check into mycorestoration and mycoremediation. This is a process that can be utilized at local levels by ordinary people with the proper information and training. If you have read-or are a proponent of -Natural Capitalism, Paul has a diagram on page 99 you'll want to check out.

Keep educating yourself on what you can do to help the planet survive, and thrive.

Until next time....become the change you imagine.